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A record number of 52 resident and non-resident diplomats participated in the 18th staging of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade’s Diplomatic Week, which concluded on Friday (February 10).

The High Commissioners, Ambassadors & Chargés d’Affaires were exposed to Jamaica’s political, economic, social and cultural pursuits over the week, an endeavour which Foreign Minister, Senator the Honourable Kamina Johnson Smith describes as critical to the island’s development plans.

The Minister said, “We had a high level of interaction at different levels and I am pleased to relay the positive feedback from our international partners who were not only impressed by our level of organization, but expressed renewed energy and commitment to strengthening relations with Jamaica.”

Minister Johnson Smith indicated that a principal focus for Diplomatic Week 2017 was to secure support for Jamaica’s candidature for the Executive Council of the International Maritime Organization – a move that would improve the position of Jamaica as a viable maritime hub.

“Happily we were able to confirm the support of some countries and to encourage others to lobby their capitals on our behalf,” Minister Johnson Smith stated.

Over the week, seven Ambassadors and one High Commissioner presented their credentials accrediting them to Jamaica, including the first ever representative of Morocco. The diplomats also participated in policy briefings, bilateral meetings, cultural presentations and tours of the Caribbean Maritime Institute and the Kingston Harbour.

Noting the significance of Diplomatic Week, Senator Johnson Smith said it offered an important opportunity to directly engage with bilateral partner countries through their non-resident and resident diplomats. This allowed partners to understand more about Jamaica’s foreign policy, national priorities and potential areas of cooperation.

She added that increased understanding between countries provides a strong platform for starting new relations and strengthening existing ones which require focus.